A few days ago Bob and I roped into the back of my car one of my largest, most comfortable chairs and hauled it up to the cabin where I write. It's an outdoor chair and I sat in it today for the first time - or at least the first time at the cabin - intending to begin my morning with prayer, then spend the rest of the day writing.

I started in with formulaic prayers but they did nothing for me. After that I went on to spontaneous prayer, but my heart wasn't in that, either. I breathed. I meditated. I tried opening my heart to the simple joys in my life. I read some reflective, deeply spiritual writing, thinking that might spark something in me.

Nothing. Dead. Empty. Cold.

OK, then, I'd skip prayer and go right into working on the fourth chapter of my book, but nothing came to me. I was blocked in every way imaginable. I tried writing articles, blogging, went in for lunch, then skimmed a magazine looking for inspiration. Nothing. And this went on the entire day.

Finally, hours later I gave up and decided to sit for a few minutes before driving home, and when I looked up, there it was. Divine stuff. Spiritual energy. Beauty. God. Tears. Shalom/wholeness. A sense that I'm made up of the same essence as everything surrounding me.

I closed my eyes, amazed that the spiritual blockage had dissipated, and that I'd done absolutely nothing to make that happen. Nor did I need to say words, or focus on meditation or breathing, or try to conjure up emotions or sweet thoughts.

Today my prayer had simply been a surprise from God at the end of a long day of seemingly fruitless effort.

Or maybe I just needed an entire day to move the muck away so that I could hear the Divine Voice.

Willing to wait,